I’m not sure exactly how many people from Arizona we’ve got in our readership, but if you’re one of them, you should feel pretty damn happy right about now… Now you can proudly say that you live in a state of importance and significance (I’m still waiting on the Dakotas)! This ridiculously cool, ungoogleable new band named after the now ridiculously cool state, Arizona, has yet to really penetrate the blogosphere in the way that it deserves. They’ve got a sound that recalls some pretty fine Beatles-esq instrumentation and Modest Mouse style freakouts, paired with great vocals and a light dusting of a Decemberists-like alt/folk/country twitterpation (you’re damn right I used that word, they’re completely worth of it). Check out these songs from their upcoming album, Welcome Back Dear Children:

[MP3] ArizonaSplintering
I love the cello in this song, it’s really inventively used, a creates a real atmosphere that the rest of the instrumenation compliments and continues as the song progresses. This song’s also got that Modest Mouse-like freakout at around the 1:30 mark which kicks the song up a notch, hammering home their message of “what goes around, comes around.”

[MP3] ArizonaSome Kind Of Chill
This song starts a little blandly, but quickly picks up pace as more elements are added… It’s like the band is painting a landscape of an Arizona desert that changes as they slowly approach some podunk town…imagine old timers and daisey dukes following the lone singer as he walks into town, harmonizing with him, praising his return. When that guitar solo comes in…oh man…it’s just EXACTLY what the song needed, at EXACTLY that time. The singer leaves back into the desert, off to give some other podunk town hope, entertainment, and a reason to get up in the morning.

Visit Arizona’s MySpace for more songs
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I know Nathaniel posted on this already, but I just can’t stop myself from posting on it again because I’m completely obsessed with the album! I’m From Barcelona‘s debut record, Let Me Introduce My Friends, hit stores back in April, but was overlooked by way too many indie rock staple sites *cough* that will remain nameless *cough*… It’s a great indie-pop record, and if you like to sing along…well, this is probably the best singalong record so far this year. If you thought The Go! Team‘s record was crazy fun, take a listen to a few of these songs:

[MP3] I’m From BarcelonaWe’re From Barcelona
[MP3] I’m From BarcelonaTreehouse

Purchase Let Me Introduce My Friends here

Hey everyone, I figured since I’ve been giving you guys a look into the Bay’s hip hop scene so much, it’s time to switch it around with something more familiar. Since we “wouldn’t be here today if the old school didn’t pave the way,” (‘Pac) I think its time to pay tribute to the old school. So here’s some of my favorites from back in the day, which you should know is a Wednesday:

[MP3] Sugarhill GangRapper’s Delight
If you got the patience to listen to this whole damn thing, give yourself a friggin’ pat on the back. Not only did this song introduce hip hop to a shitload of people, but it also gave an entire dictionary of lines for future rappers to use. My favorite line really gives a sense of start to the genre: “Now what you hear is not a test / I’m rapping to the beat”

[MP3] Grandmaster Flash and The Furious FiveThe Message
Although these guys’ getups were funny as hell, they really did an amazing job bringing hip hop to a new level with this song. The Message is what hip hop is all about—music that represents the streets and the realness of life. It’s kinda scary to think about what rap would be like if it weren’t for this song.

[MP3] Slick RickChildren’s Story
Anyone who’s listened to Mos Def and Talib Kweli’s Black Star might be familiar with this song. Slick Rick, or as he was called in his early career, Ricky D, is a great storyteller who can be serious but still fun with his high voice.

[MP3] The Beastie BoysSure Shot
I’ll be honest, I don’t like the Beastie Boys. I think most of the time they are just way too annoying. However, I like this song. Something about it just sounds old school, and since they were an important part of early hip hop, I gotta give them some credit.

[MP3] A Tribe Called QuestCheck The Rhime
Q-Tip is definitely one of my favorite mc’s out there, and I just hope that ATCQ reunites. These guys were major influences, along with De La Soul, for Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Common, The Roots, and others of the Native Tongues movement. There is really no way to describe this song, just check it out and its jazzy greatness.

[MP3] Public EnemyFight The Power
Groups like A Tribe Called Quest and Public Enemy were part of the so-called “Golden Age” of hip hop. It must have been so tight to see these guys live, when political hip-hop was in the mainstream, and when you could really see the music as a promoter of social consciousness. To me, Fight the Power might be the perfect rap song. It is empowering, it is musical, it is fun, and it is the f@&%in’ truth. I hope this song makes you happy, makes you angry, makes you uncomfortable, makes you wanna dance, makes you wanna fight, or invokes some sort of emotion in you—cuz its capable of all of that.

By the way today I bought Dave Chappelle’s Block Party on DVD, and lemme just say that it is sensational. If you’re a fan of artists like Black Star, The Roots, Common, Lauryn Hill, or Erykah Badu, then definitely look it up.

Editor’s Note: While Nathaniel is getting his pale ass a tan over at Bonnaroo, Joel from the fantabulous Oh No! Oh My! will be helping us out with a few guest posts! Show him some love, dammit!

I never was a big fan of the super-fast-guitar-swinging motion, but tonight I got to enjoy The Spinto Band at The Mercy Lounge in Nashville, TN and that kind of action is just what it needed. The band’s genesis came when founder member Nick found some lyrics his grandfather Roy Spinto had written on the inside of Cracker Jack boxes. It’s like fate! These guys put on a very energetic but spunky show filled with some great indie-pop. Full of woo hoo’s, The Spinto Band has what it takes to get a 97 year old woman to jump out of her wheel chair, with respirator in hand, and shake her old booty. These guys pulled a big crowd and all in all it was a fantastic night. Check out a song from their latest album which was released June 7th, 2005 titled Nice and Nicely Done.

[MP3] The Spinto BandDid I Tell You?

Buy Nice and Nicely Done from Amazon
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I almost made the mistake of overlooking this release by confusing the stellar French Kicks with the less-than-stellar French Toast…I’m slightly, unfairly biased against the latter because of an impossibly hot, long opening performance they played for the Bloc Party dates last year…they’re not bad, I just can’t shake that miserable time from correlating with them…Bloc Party kicked ass though.

Anyways, as luck would have it, I didn’t overlook French Kicks’ new album, Two Thousand, which hits stores August 8th. Apparenly they’ve got a decently strong fanbase already (news to me), despite this being the first I’ve heard from them…so…while I think this track is great, other fans could disagree when comparing it to their older work…who knows. If you just read all that, sorry, here’s the song:

[MP3] French KicksCloche

Sorry, this is a pretty bad post…I didn’t even describe the music! Well…that’s just the way it is sometimes. I’m ridiculously tired, I have to be at work at 5:30AM…but when I get back, I promise I’ll have something good for you all. Goodnight…